For as much I want to tie a neat bow around the concept of pain, sometimes there are no easy answers.
Yes… I see the good that comes out of struggle, the way it rouses a deaf world to become more attuned to God, to each other. Certainly, pain can come from our doing, the sin of others, the effects of a fallen world. But I also see how it comes uninvited, almost unfairly, and honestly, it’s these mysteries that are so hard.
Either way, where there is pain, there is no coasting. No auto pilot. The ride is too uncomfortable. Pain doesn’t just sit weightless. It demands something… especially, long-lasting pain that blurs through the lines of the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual, until it’s too hard to decipher what’s coming from what…
By no means have I arrived at perfect clarity here, but in these last few years of some of my hardest struggles with my health, I have learned that for as much that is out of our control…we always get to choose what we believe.
Through every setback, relapse, trial that comes into our lives, we have to choose what we believe about our pain.
In the face of every insecurity or loss, in all that tries to define us, we have to choose what to believe about ourselves.
When pain and suffering seem to drag on unnecessarily in our world and in the world at large, seeming to slip through the hands of a sleeping God, we are forced to choose what we believe about Him.
These choices, I know, are incredibly hard… but they can be helpful. They forge us out of shallowness. And hopefully, all of this has the potential to grow us in ways we could never grow otherwise.
But sometimes our pain doesn’t grow us, it simply destroys us.
I believe this is where we have to draw a line in the sand. It is one thing to accept in humility that falls and struggles may come, but it is an entirely different matter to become completely defeated.
When pain continues on beyond hope, beyond what even feels shareable … then it’s no longer a noble teacher. Unfortunately, it becomes a huge barrier.
Here are some of the lies that I battled during a particularly long and difficult flare with Lyme Disease and related conditions. I share here also the Biblical truths that I held on to (literally clung on to with all my might through the sheer grace of God!) during that trying time:
1. Pain says you’re too far gone.
The truth is, you are forgiven.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. ~ 1 John 1:9
2. Pain says you’re weak.
The truth is, you are strong in Him.
The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. ~ Psalm 29:11
3. Pain says you’re alone.
The truth is, God will not leave you.
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. ~ John 14:18
4. Pain says your life is over.
The truth is, God is not finished with the “good’ work ” He has begun in you.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. ~ Philippians 1:6
5. Pain says to fear.
The truth is, God says, you have been given the power to overcome fear.
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. ~ 2 Timothy 1:7
6. Pain says there’s no hope.
The truth is, God is your immoveable hope through the Holy Spirit.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. ~ Romans 15:13
7. Pain says you are no longer acceptable.
But God says, you are my child.
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. ~ John 1:21
8. Pain says you can’t hang on for another moment.
But God says, wait on me.
Those that wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. ~ Isaiah 40:31
9. Pain says you are overwhelmed; the waters are too deep.
But God says, trust in me.
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. ~ Isaiah 26:3
10. Pain says you are defeated.
But the truth is, He is able to give us the victory through Christ.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:57
So dear warriors, whatever the trial, let’s draw a line in the sand with the power of God’s promises. It is not easy. But let’s keep moving forward, in courage and truth, and always in hope.
Please check out “Losing Normal” as this reflects a similar theme. 🙂